More replies to McLaren F1 questions and comments

More replies to McLaren F1 questions and comments



Original Poster:

22,615 posts

195 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
Thank you all for your welcoming and generous words. I am glad that my posting seems to have been received in the spirit in which I hoped it would be (or at least that those readers who regarded it as a load of unmentionable were considerate enough to refrain from commenting on it).
I shall use the same format as previously to reply to the more recent set of questions and comments. There are a lot of good questions, so this will again take a while to go through. As I am incompetent both as a wordsmith and as a typist, please bear with me, and I'll say as much as I am able to do this evening.
One other thing: it feels like a number of my replies to you will be using the words "I", "me" and "my" a lot. I wish it could be otherwise. I'm just trying to share information; I hope not to forget the fact that I am nothing more than the nut behind the wheel.

dimmadan (compare handling to other cars'/is it what I expected?) -
Your first question covers such an expanse that it's almost unanswerable. Instead of trying to relate the F1 to everything else that I have driven, how about if I try to describe its salient characteristics, and then you can apply them as you wish?
- good mechanical grip below 125 or 150,
- slight roll. There is a front a-r-b, but none at rear,
- steering response slower than you expect (long wheelbase, slow ratio),
- low polar moment of inertia, obviously, so changes direction quickly, notwithstanding other influences,
- very good steering feedback,
- low understeer gradient, but a lot of understeer at limit,
- because of lateral compliance at rear, rear can seem out of sync with steering inputs. At speed this is not good,
- quite low c.o.g., which adds to whatever "planted" feeling there is,
- 41' turning circle,
- takes a set in a bend nicely,
- not as good as you would want in transitions,
- you can trim steering effectively with throttle,
- note that ratio of front tyre width-rear tyre width is greater than in comparable cars, which contributes to low understeer gradient and lag between front and rear movement.

Sorry if all that is a bit fluffy, but otherwise I would have to get so specific about a topic in which I am a complete amateur that it would be inappropriate for me to opine sagely. My other comments about handling were in the previous post and I thought it best not to repeat them here.
Later in this post I hope to mention what I'm looking to change on the car.
As regards my expectations, I expected something like a go-kart, but the car is not at all that way.
I did not get "acceleration is a safety feature" from McLaren, but in the U.K. don't you sometimes talk about and measure a car's T.E.D.?

GreaseNipple (traffic light Grand Prix?) -
I have never raced anyone on a public road and I never will. If others do it, that's up to them.

BrianTheYank (self-control required/other drivers' reactions?) -
Please see above. No one has ever appeared to be trying to compete with me. Generally the car seems to be respected. Apart when I am taking it easy (restricted Autobahn, etc.), I don't believe that it's ever been overtaken, but, as I said, that is not because I'm trying to compete with folks. Frequently I'll come up behind someone and hold a proper following distance, but as soon as they appear to notice me in the mirror they pull over to the near side and give me so much opportunity to overtake that it makes me feel guilty.
Yes, I suppose that it does require self-control, because it's so easy to be aggressive with the throttle and get yourself into trouble. Then again, the challenge of making smooth inputs is one of the great pleasures of driving, wouldn't you say?

Tanka (what car driven for instruction prior to getting F1?) -
Would you mind if I said, three quite capable European cars with the engine in the front, middle and rear? Yes, they were rather different from it (ABS, traction control, heavier weight, lighter steering), but especially different was the F1's propensity to change direction quickly in certain circumstances.

clubsport (journalists' impressions) -
As I alluded, the reviews that I have read are all off the mark, each in its own way. Paul Frere's was the best, but even he was necessarily bound by the context of the day.
My thoughts on motoring journalism were forever changed when a year or two ago a major, respected motoring magazine borrowed a car (not F1) to do a story, which enabled me to spend two full days with the crew and participate in everything that they did. I have nothing against the crew, who are well-intentioned, good people, but during those two days they spent approximately 15% of the time driving and 85% doing the photo's. The ensuing feature story was perhaps stimulating to the readership, but it wasn't all that accurate, and some parts were actually made up.

TheExcession (comparison with a superbike?) -
I have never been on a proper bike and am too old to start now, I regret to say. The tests that I have seen in recent years suggest that a superbike will match, and possibly better, an F1 in acceleration. So much depends on the tyres.

condor (follow or participate in motorsport?) -
Yes; no.
A question for you and everyone: how feasible is it to participate in motorsport if a person is not, well, hugely selfish and aggressive? There are different ways to participate, of course, and I would love to hear folks' thoughts on this.

dazren (if F1 didn't exist, what else would appeal? -
There is nothing else like it in the ways that it is special (perhaps that's a tautology?), so one would have to pursue a different objective.

Matt T16 (what's the mileage, how often driven?) -
The odometer is around 29,000 miles, 25,000 of which I have done. Apart from during the winter, if the car and I are near enough to each other I try to go out once a week, once a fortnight at least.

maranellouk (what car next?) -
This is getting very egotistical of me, but for what it's worth:
- the little OSCA barchettas that were made in the '50s are lovely, so I'm ruminating on them. Not sure if I could deal with the inevitable oil leaks.
- if you combined a GT3(II) engine and 996 chassis with the lightness and lateral stiffness of a 964 or 993 RS Clubsport you would have a great machine. You could do that by making a 996 Cup car road-legal, which is a major hassle, or you could strip out a new GT3, weld in the cage, etc. Because the 997 Cup car will be out soon, I'm holding my fire on this one.
- I wish that I could put my hands on a car that had the build quality of a Donkervoort and the dynamics of a Caterham. A possible project.

HarryW (rating of 959?) -
It's a fine thing, but for the driving experience to be meaningful you need to be able to time-travel back a bit.
The engine is really strong (same as the 956/962s'), but even with sequentials there's a lot of turbo-lag. When the second kicks in at around 4300, you know it's happening. The gearbox has a beautiful mechanical quality. The throw's longish, but not too long. The brakes are the best that I've ever used, powerful with superb feel. The chassis in the Comfort versions is too soft - this was really an Autobahn-cruiser, and even in the Sports version it could do with some sharpening up. The seats are ace. The build quality is not at F1 level, but it is darn good. The interior is almost standard Porsche.
Much of its appeal derives from what it represents, which complements the physical object.
I love it and all it evokes, but many people would be underwhelmed.

308gt4 (feeling of euphoria important part of ownership/difference between 170 and 220mph?) -
The fact of ownership isn't a big deal, but the experience of being in and around the car is, at least for me. Not sure that I would call it "euphoric", but the experience never fails to be vivid and uplifting.
Some PH'ers were discussing linear v. exponential curves in relation to speed change. 220 is 29% faster than 170, but you're generating 67% more energy. The footprint of the tyres is distorting. Small steering (and other) inputs cause big effects, but you're already approaching the limits of the vehicle and the driver to adapt. Because the car is wing-less, the back may be lifting. You're very vulnerable to changes in the wind and the road surface.
If that is all obvious and pedantic, the the empirical answer is that at 170 you've got a decent margin of error, so that you can relax. At 220 you have to plan way ahead with extra concentration so that everything you do is subtle, smooth and in harmony with the environment and with your other inputs. Even a small error and you're toast.

danhf (reverse is a sod) -
First, thanks for your challenges - no offense taken. Second, there is a reverse lock-out tab at the base of the gearstick, unlike in most other road cars in which you lift, depress or lever the gearstick to go into reverse. It is slightly tedious, but unimportant.

bilko (does McLaren require an owner to meet a driving standard?) -

As the car's production ceased in 1998, McLaren today will get involved in a sale only if acting as an honest broker between two independent parties. Thus they would not be in a position to rule over who is qualified to drive a car.
I believe that when an original owner first took delivery the factory offered a day's training to that new owner. Many of the cars were collected at the factory, which facilitated this process, but I know of some instructors who flew to far-off lands to accompany and help to hand over a new car. I doubt that proved driving skill was a condition of purchase, although I suspect that more than one would-be owner was politely turned away for unstated reasons (note than both parts of this sentence are my surmise only).
By the way, a number of original owners were fantastically skillful drivers.

PiB (performance upgrades available/meeting well-known people/tailpipe emissions/flywheel?) -
The answer to the first is essentially "no". My understanding is that a manufacturer has a higher-threshold obligation to ensure the safety and road-worthiness of its products than an independent agent has with regard to altering those same products. McLaren's view is that they will only offer something that would affect the safety (which can be influenced by performance) of an F1 if that specific system or modification has formal regulatory approval such that it would necessarily cover the F1. In my previous post I described the modifications that they will do to the cars.
The F1 has given me countless opportunities to meet good people. Some of them are well-known, most are not. I have not met or sought to meet Ron Dennis. I know that he's controversial, but, having heard a lot about him from many sources, he sounds like a complicated but dead-straight fellow, and one of the most decent guys in a largely-indecent business.
No flames out of the tailpipes (although they do feature with a straight-through exhaust), and no rice-krispies, but the muffled bangs on the over-run are euphonic. They sound like distant artillery.
The F1 has a small, lightweight aluminium flywheel which does something, but you sure wouldn't know it from the rate at which the rev's change.

gizard (what about the projected new McLaren sportscar?) -
What I know about it is largely from outside factory sources. I hate to be a jerk, but I don't feel comfortable repeating much, except to say that what you would have read in the media in the spring was accurate at that time. Sorry.

PetrolTed (did I look at many before buying?) -
I looked for a few months, during which time there did not seem to be a single one available anywhere. I got a lot of bum-steers; so-and-so would claim to know of one, but he only knew somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody who owned one and maybe but probably not it was for sale and if it was then everybody wanted a piece of the action. A complete circus.
Then I got word that a well-known car was being offered for sale. This was legitimate. I had a look at it. I was not exactly taken with the way that the metallic midnight blue paint went with the forest green interior and bright yellow driver's seat, but those things could be changed, so I serously considered it.
By sheer coincidence I had a friend who knew that I was looking, and this very day he phoned and suggested that I contact a business associate of his wife's who owned an F1 and could probably answer questions for me before I pulled the trigger.
I rang up this owner, who couldn't have been nicer. He invited me to come over to his place (a two-hour digression) and drive his car. When I got there it was raining so I didn't want to drive it (even though he still offered), but we got to talking and agreed a price. He had a second F1 at the time, and the one that I bought was exactly the one out of them all that I would have wanted had I known about it beforehand, and I also knew that it had been cared for and driven properly. Again I was lucky.

BCA (where does one go to buy an F1?) -
A member has pointed out the Taylor and Crawley website. That company is owned by the former sales director for the F1 program, so he knows what's happening with many of the cars. Some people will also do business with the factory acting as middle-man.
I doubt that Tom Hartley has dealt with an F1, but I know that he would like to.
Now that about twenty cars live in America it probably has its own sub-market. Caveat emptor.

The Wiz (did I consider an LM?) -
No. At the time none was available, and now that I know a lot more I wouldn't want one.
It appears to be one of those things that some people covet just to possess them, regardless of their intrinsic merits.
The LM has a slightly more powerful engine, which is the one thing that the F1 DOES NOT NEED. In fact, if you really wanted you could get a standard F1 road car with that engine, but it was pointless.
The LM is lighter than the standard car, but less weight means that they had to throw away some of the stuff that was originally put in the car not just for the fun of it, but because it served a purpose.
The LM has a turning circle of approximately 55 feet. It has that awful wing in back, complemented by an equally-ungainly splitter projecting from the front bumper. I think that it can handle an approach angle of something like 4 degrees.
I like windows that open, just in case. The LM's don't.
The car has straight-cut gears. If you're into wondering what life would be like living inside a working cement-mixer, you should check out the LM. In fact, the car is so noisy that it came with ear-defenders as standard.
The funny thing is, because the LM was type-approved, McLaren will do most of the LM-style modifications to a regular F1. So why pay three times as much for the bragging rights?
If I was willing to live with all those compromises, I would much prefer to buy an F1GTR race car with provenance for a lot less money and take it to the circuit.
I hope that the LM owners adore their cars, but I can't see the appeal.

martin robson (SLR tarnishing McLaren's image?)-
For some folks the SLR is the perfect thing. (I assume that, although I don't know any such people.)
As for whether it tarnishes McLaren's image, doesn't most everyone think of the SLR as a Mercedes on which McLaren assisted but didn't have the deciding vote? I suspect that if the two companies make the mooted 360-kind-of-thing it will seem much less D-C and more McLaren.

guydw (McLaren storefront with F1 on Park Lane) -
You are aware that McLaren gave up the space this spring, after first selling the un-used car that had for years dwelt within it? That car on display was about the best reason to come to London, but no more.

Stig (Ultima) -
The Ultima drives more like an F1 than anything else with which I am familiar. As detailed in "Driving Ambition", McLaren bought two Ultimas in around 1991 and used them extensively as mules to aid in the F1's development.

hobo (how does F1 compare with first car owned/how long between wanting it and buying it?) -
The first car that I ever bought was a Cerbera. Ahem.
I probably began to think about the F1 a couple months before I began the advanced driving instruction, and got it about fifteen months later.

guydw (other toys in garage/fantasy garage?)
Apart from the F1, I have a Caterham and some Porsches.
The only car that is for me a fantasy is a 908/03.
I don't know what other members think about this issue, but regardless of how much money somebody has, what is the point of paying a huge amount for scarcity value? I didn't mind forking over what I had to for an F1 because that amount was pretty much what it cost to build one. For me the 908 is the most evocative-but-accessible race car (accessible in that there is a possiblity that I could maybe someday do a lap of a circuit and be within 10% of a competitive time). But why should one pay a massive premium over what it did or would cost to make one just because there are fewer cars than there are wealthy lusting admirers? Perhaps someday if I'm feeling energetic I'll make a 908/03 replica - that could be a fun project.

Speaking of fantasy garages, after hearing what I have had to say about the F1, how many members want one more than they did, and how many want one less than they did?

ettore (has F1 lived up to expectations/keep it forever?) -
Notwithstanding the handling/suspensions matters described above, it has exceeded my expectations and I am hugely glad that I am lucky enough to have bought it. As I said in the previous post, it has allowed me to help bring a smile to many people's faces. It has made it possible for me to meet loads of nice folks - this forum being a perfect example. It has given me driving experiences that have been challenging, exciting, gratifying and fun. It has become a major project to enhance and take closer to my ideal.
I will not sell it.

cptsideways (least miles on a single tank?) -
I couldn't possibly set a new PH standard here. The car has a 90 litre tank, and I don't think that I've consumed an entire tankful on any circuit. Mind you, when we did the max-speed runs (about ten runs altogether), the fuel gauge needle rotated quite purposefully. In that instance, there was a pair of fuel stations along that stretch of Autobahn, and we visited them twice, as I recall.
The other unusual thing that occured on those runs was that, not during the runs but an hour of relatively relaxed driving later, the clutch became extremely juddery. I assumed that there was a lot of heat build-up and the plates had gradually expanded. By the end of the day, when things had cooled down, everything was back to normal.

RobDickinson (factory test drive?) -
When they were selling the cars from current production, I think that the factory took "qualified" potential drivers to the Chobham test circuit which was a few miles from their Woking base.

Mr E (with what modern car would I replace the F1, if required?) -
There just isn't anything. At the back of "evo" magazine there are one-row summaries of many cars, each concluding with a positive and a negative point. As I recall, for the F1 the negative is, "there'll never be another".
As other members and I have opined, the Carrera GT is immensely accomplished, but it's heavy and wide and doesn't have a lot of character. It has its uses, but not to replace the F1.
The Enzo is just another means for Ferrari Road Cars to subsidise Ferrari Formula One.
The Zonda makes my eyes hurt.
I trust that most PH'ers will agree that the hypothetical Veyron does not require commentary (except how can I resist making fun of the diamonds set into the speedo and tach needles? Ha ha ha ha ha!)

alfa male; clubsport; guydw (all dealing with whether to change anything on the car, and, if so, what?) -
I can only begin this topic by emphasising that I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING! DO NOT TRY THE FOLLOWING AT HOME!
The F1 road cars' camber, caster and anti-roll-bar stiffness are not adjustable. There are various things that one can do, away from the factory, to make those elements adjustable, and I am doing so. This implies that a misguided soul such as myself wants those specifications to be different from what was intended. Yes. Does Gordon Murray know more about cars than a thousand versions of me put together ever could? Yes. Why would I be so dumb (unless I just am)?
As said before, today engineers have vastly more calculating and modelling power than they did in the early '90s. Furthermore, the F1 was designed to address the needs of a range of users that was fairly narrow, but was surely not as narrow as those of a single person who is never going to sell the thing. Then we have the advances in tyres.
So my car is having various parts of its geometry changed, then we'll get to springs and dampers. The original tyres look nice to my eye, but that 45 section at the rear creates a lot of lateral movement, so we'll go to an 18 or 19 wheel in order to add stiffness with a narrower-section tyre. This gets tricky, because there aren't many tyres that are the right width and speed rating too. After that is done, I need to find (as in, "have made") some centre-lock wheels for the bigger tyres. The problem here is that the standard F1 mag wheels are really light, so it will take some doing to get anywhere near their lightness in a bigger wheel. As PH'ers will appreciate, unsprung rotating weight is the worst kind, so this is a crucial thing to get right.
One way of reducing the heavy-wheel problem would be to get lighter-weight brakes, which is possible with the ceramic-composite systems now available. The challenge here is that the new materials have a very high co-efficient of friction and thus the brake pedal is super-sensitive. Now the F1's throttle pedal is very stiff, because when you press it you are moving a dozen each of several metal pieces, plus the return spring. If you have a heavy throttle and a sensitive brake pedal it becomes extremely difficult to heel-and-toe.
These are some of the things that I am dealing with, and let's not get into the bespoke nylon-shell asymmetrical-rate bushes.
guydw raises the excellent question of why mess with the car? Why not keep it in its original state? In this case, I am changing parts of the suspension that really could be improved, and if the new parts are identical to the originals in quality and appearance except that they are perhaps one-and-one-half degrees different, that does not worry me. As for brakes, I don't get sentimental about those. McLaren, Porsche, Ferrari don't make their own brakes anyhow. When the F1 was being designed, the McLaren team struggled to get a carbon braking system to work, but none would. I don't feel that I would be violating the spirit of the car if I put in a slightly-different rotor or pad material and in the process made it better.
It seems to me that if anyone is a disrespecter of tradition it is the folks who have McLaren slap a hulking great wing on the back of their F1 road cars to give them a racey look.
If you ever drive the early Porsche "icon", the 2.7 RS, you'll want modern brakes put on it asap (I am assuming that you sometimes would wish to stop said vehicle), and the devil can have the originals for his mantel.
I hope that Mr Murray will forgive me - I really do like his car.

BliarOut (daily driver?) -

cano (do different weather conditions affect the driving?) -
It's relatively light in weight, with wide tyres, no ABS or traction control. I have driven it through teeming rainstorms, but you need to be disciplined and be pretty much the slowest car on the road.
Also, the car's cooling system is a finely-balanced affair. The car can have either of two sizes of water radiators. Mine has the larger ones, but this means that if the ambient temp is +6ish or less your oil temp will only remain reliably high enough if you drive in a lower gear than you usually would. Considering that when the weather is cool that will often mean frost, black ice, and less sticky rubber, and you'd really rather be driving a gear higher instead of lower, this can crimp one's style.

anniesdad (highest mileage/rivalry for most mileage/why notice engine cover light at 215/was I sweating at max speed?) -
I know that there is at least one customer car with more miles than mine. Its owner has had it from new and has thus had twice as long as I to accumulate mileage. Then there's the lovely XP5, the speed-record dark-green car, which is still owned by McLaren and was recently refurbished to perfection. It has nearly 60,000 miles on it. There may be other cars that get used a lot, but there aren't many.
The McLaren folks are totally discreet and do not discuss with one owner (or, at least, not with this owner) anything about other owners. When you take a car in for servicing, the first thing that they do is to remove the reg plates.
They have told me that, in general, about two-thirds of the road cars are either never or rarely driven. They have told me - I cannot recall the exact words - something like that I was the "drivingest" owner, by which they were combining distance and the demands that I put on the car, such that they were learning new things about service intervals and durability by observing what happened on my car.
The engine cover light is visible in the middle of the right windscreen mirror; when it lit it caught my attention.
I don't know if I was sweating; I'll ask a friend who was there. Beforehand I was unsettled because, although up until the day before I had been quite relaxed, the night before I had a drink with a friend who lives near Frankfurt. This man is a master driver, has driven F1s a lot and has balls the size of coconuts (so I've been told, that is). Anyhow, he implored me not to do the run because he was convinced that at around 330kph the car becomes aerodynamically unstable. The fact that this gentleman once shunted an F1 at, er, 330kph along the same piece of Autobahn where I would be doing my run gave his voice a certain credibility. But once you've started a project, you keep going, right?

RichardD (acceleration when car hit rev-limit?) -
Members have discussed the physics involved. As a summary of their discussion would suggest, the car was distinctly gaining speed when it hit the rev-limit, but the rate of gain had been decaying. No two cars are identical, so what XP5 did wasn't necessarily what my car would potentially have done, but there was definitely a fair bit left in it.

anniesdad (comments on colour of my car) -
I chose the colour from a huge book of swatches of colours that are commercially available (R-M Colormaster series). This colour is non-metallic. The electronic images aren't quite accurate, at least not on my screen. The actual colour is fairly subdued except in bright sunlight. In real life it is fairly close to the darker blue on a Pepsi can. Some Mercedes vans are a similar colour. As a member said, it is reminiscent of, but different to, the blue on old Bugatti racers.

Frik (A-pillar mirrors from BMW Z1) -
Well-spotted. When the original owner insisted that the factory do something to give him this sort of mirror, this is what they came up with. At the time there wern't many options. It turned out that the prototype mirror-shells may have been too small to contain motors anyhow. The shape of my mirrors isn't sublime, but I prefer it to the alternative.

admiral (by what criteria do I choose to drive it?) -
All your listed criteria apply to me, and to many PH'ers, I daresay. I would add:
- are the car and I in the same country?
- weather?
- will my route allow sprited driving?
- will the F1 cause a fuss or make me feel self-conscious?
Maybe two-thirds of the driving that I do each year is done for the sake of driving itself, so I am able to influence the answers to the questions.

sirtophamhat (one-off factory options available/what inspired colour?) -
I have mentioned how the factory will add the rear wing (but only with the front splitter, for aero balance), and how you can get a bigger a/c unit and bigger water radiator. Apart from cosmetic items, because McLaren won't go near changing anything that affects performance (suspension, engine, brakes, wheels and tyres) there's not much left. They have installed in people's cars various electronic things, such as GPS, AM/FM radio (cars did come with a CD player, and good speakers, but there is a fair bit of engine and road noise above 50mph, so the sound system becomes superfluous), and mobile phone.
For the colour, I can't abide those Las Vegan-Lambo metallics. The F1 has a somewhat busy exterior with all the air apertures and aerodynamic surfaces, so you want a colour that will not add to the visual activity. You also want a colour that will allow the contours to show - the car's got some nice ones - so you can't get something that's too dark. I like honest, direct colours, so I chose a simple blue.
On the car the blue turned out to be slightly lighter than I expected, especially in direct sunlight. I have spent hours since its painting looking for a better blue. Even if I found one, I am not sure that I could morally justify pissing away what a complete re-spray would cost when I could give that money to famished or ill children. Sometimes you've got to say "that's enough".

maranellouk (who resprays F1s?) -
A medium-sized firm near London. They do flawless work. You might argue, however, that the car would be truer to Murray's vision if they didn't worry about creating a perfectly uniform surface and, instead, applied the minimum thickness of paint needed to effect a colour change. I was told that on the Carrera GT the paint/filler alone adds 40kg to the weight.

DeaDLock (how quick in a straight line?) -
Your head gets jerked back and there's no doubt about it. What is more impressive is the breadth of the torque range, and the way that it pulls very sharply even in fifth (even in sixth, come to that).
By the way, thank you for the steer to that other website. I had a quick look at it this evening. I have never spoken to the F1 owner in the U.S. who is doing a lot of posting, but I am sure that he is a good guy. For what it's worth, his experiences with the car(s) seem to diverge from mine in many ways. I have to respect his opinions, as well as his willingness to share them with people. Where we diverge, I think that I am right, but that doesn't mean that he is wrong, just different.

This posting seems as long as my previous. I have tried to address your questions and comments as best I could. I hope that you found something here that was worth reading. Thanks again for your kind words to me.



965 posts

217 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
Porsche paint filler is lead. Real lead- this may explain the 40kg figure. Are the pictures taken through a polarizer lens or did you go with a "flat" color as opposed to a "gloss" one?


11,594 posts

225 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
flemke said:
Speaking of fantasy garages, after hearing what I have had to say about the F1, how many members want one more than they did, and how many want one less than they did?

You make it sound very nice indeed. So, for me, probably want one a bit more now. I've always thought that the F1 was the perfect example of what British engineers can do with a "clean sheet of paper"...



7,733 posts

197 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
Another excellent post from a incompetent?? wordsmith.
Fascinating reading.



7,585 posts

208 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
Im suprised he is taking all this time writing up answers to questions when he could be driving the beast :drive:

Great chap


1,184 posts

228 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Definately was all worth reading, thanks again!


710 posts

218 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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ErnestM said:

flemke said:
Speaking of fantasy garages, after hearing what I have had to say about the F1, how many members want one more than they did, and how many want one less than they did?

You make it sound very nice indeed. So, for me, probably want one a bit more now. I've always thought that the F1 was the perfect example of what British engineers can do with a "clean sheet of paper"...


Actually Ernest I believe Gordon Murray is a Kiwi


2,066 posts

221 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
flemke said:
Speaking of fantasy garages, after hearing what I have had to say about the F1, how many members want one more than they did, and how many want one less than they did?

Once, twice and thrice.....thank you for your insight into your car and taking the time to answer my and the other PHers questions.

I have always wanted an F1. Always. Two things. When it was released I was 13 so it firmly established itself as a unobtainable dream car. The other thing was the constant coverage pre and post release and then, due to the fact that you very, very rarely saw the things, and for the grace of God they managed to avoid the grubby mitts of the Premiership Football players, they only ever came up in conversation/magazines/media when yet another car claiming to be the "fastest production car" reared it's head.

My target is to join the 250GTO club but for some reason the F1 has always seemed completely out of reach price wise. I think that because the price and top speeds were always in the headlines and unlike Ferrari I was limited to magazines and questioning the answerless woman who sat in the Park Lane showroom and did bugger all. I remember thinking "GBP650,000 eh?" Contemplated saving my pocket money for 650 months to get me into Woking or better still, show that bloody Park Lane woman showroom who the daddy was

Thanks to you contribution and the dispelling of some myths which really put me off, my interest has been completely restored. It may sound silly but this legendary car seems so much more real when someone, such as your goodself and your delightful style of writing, gives an insight into ownership.

Quick question, when you were looking for your example, what were you looking for? Any warnings you'd been given before you set out on your search? Being that there are so few cars, how could you compare any examples that you came across?

Thanks again,


P.S By the by, I hope you weren't driving the thing in Germany when it was silver in 2001! I was trying to demonstrate the capabilities on a spirited run of a Italian V12 to a mate when I was destoryed by an F1. Destroyed actually doesn't do the it justice. It felt like I was going in reverse. Horrible feeling when you are at very high three figure speeds and a car comes up behind you so fast out of nowhere and passes you as if you had pulled over to check your map.

As you can imagine, the reminder of the journey was rather quiet If it was you, cheers, my mate will never let me forget it

Oh bloody hell, Ferris Bueller is on and he's about to give the Cali Spider a good kicking - I can't watch! Bugger, it's rolled out of the garage and into the trees

>> Edited by maranellouk on Thursday 5th August 07:55


2,066 posts

221 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
308gt4 said:

ErnestM said:

[quote=flemke]I've always thought that the F1 was the perfect example of what British engineers can do with a "clean sheet of paper"...


Actually Ernest I believe Gordon Murray is a Kiwi

South African is old Gordy.


3,539 posts

203 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
maranellouk said:

South African is old Gordy.

Ssshhh!!! He is an honorary Brit - just like that bloke who has purchased TVR!!!


6,552 posts

206 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
flemke said:
the first car that I ever bought was a Cerbera. Ahem.

Just brilliant! Another fantastic post, thank you.

Do F1's ever depreciate? Or are they so scarce that the value just holds.


7,585 posts

208 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
Raify said:

flemke said:
the first car that I ever bought was a Cerbera. Ahem.

Just brilliant! Another fantastic post, thank you.

Do F1's ever depreciate? Or are they so scarce that the value just holds.

value goes up I bet.


2,163 posts

241 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Yes I want one even more now! - But as you say and I agree the projected new McLaren will be more Mclaren I hope...

martin robson

23 posts

201 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Wow an excellent post, its good to hear opinions on the F1 that are validated by someone who not only owns one but has obviously made the most of it. It always seems such a shame when people buy expensive and rare cars only to lock them away and never use them.

The Wiz

5,875 posts

220 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Thanks for that flemke ...excellent post


17,760 posts

201 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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flemke said:
Speaking of fantasy garages, after hearing what I have had to say about the F1, how many members want one more than they did, and how many want one less than they did?

It certainly hasn't made me want one any less or put me off them.

However, if I was in the position to be spending that amount of money on a car, I'd probably go for the Enzo or an F50. I'm NOT in any way saying that the Enzo is a better car, just that given the choice, that's what I'd choose.

Anyways, it's all subjective as I'm unlikley to ever have that kind of money to spend on a car


10 posts

195 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
I'm a very new member to PH (previous long term lurker). I may not drive a flash sporty car, but i'm still a PH'er at heart.

I've read both posts from Flemke in their entirity, and all I can say is WOW!!

Its refreshing to hear someone be so honest about what to most people is a dream machine. To hear you describe the car in ways we cannot have heard from any magazine is amazing. Your honesty in pointing out the little things is nice. Some people may have been all "Here's my F1, it's perfect".

You ask whether we would like to own an F1 more or less now after reading your replies. It's always been a dream machine to me, and it always will be. The day I get to sit in one, let alone drive one will send shivers up my spine. So I think I have to say, I would still love to own one, but I personally cannot imagine owning one...if that makes sense.

Thank you for your honest and detailed insight into the ownership of such a car. May you enjoy your F1 for a long time to come as the geniune PH'er you sound like you are.


1,651 posts

241 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all
Good stuff....

I don't want an F1 any more or less than I already did - it has been a holy grail since the day it was launched. Obviously when one owns a car and drives it, it is possible to come up with tweeks. That is innevitable and doesn't reflect on the design in any way. Myself, if I had an F1 I'd put a bunch of those superb accessories from halfords on it ! (can you imagine ?) and maybe one of those pretend spoilers, preferably with purple neon bits.

As far as fast supercars go ( I say fast as I consider the Countach to be THE definitive supercar, and also go weak at the knees every time I see an F40, yet neither of these would keep up with an F1...) the F1 is the one to have. However, I can't resist some of the "classics" (see above), so I genuinely don't know if I would ever be able to justify the purchase of an F1, or would I be able to let that 250 SWB go, or that Maserati A6, or that REAL GT40, or that Maserati 250F , or that road legal 962 (a Dauer one???) etc etc - I have no interest in rarity, but there's just something about some of these cars, I get it with 246 Dino's and Miuras (!!!!) too ...... I reckon when I have a Countach in the garage, I won't be able to sleep, cos I'll have to keep getting up in the night to look at it... lol. However, on the other hand, whenever I've seen an F1 I've been possessed with a desire to buy it there and then, unfortunately I've always been dissapointed to find just a fiver in my pocket .... must work harder, need to get that job in the city .... :-)

I didn't know the showroom in Park Lane had shut, but I have to dissagree strongly on the London comments (maybe it's because ahm a Lahndahner.... ).. no offence taken though, we're so conceited and biggoted (Londoners) that we just assume critiscism of our fine city is just jealousy ! (never trust air you can't see !)

Anyhow, enjoy the F1 - someday I hope to sit in one ( so I'll get in line) - actually my 8 year old wants this nearly as much as me, he's still talking about getting to sit in Fangios Alfa at Goodwood....

Meanwhile I'm enjoying my Cerb, whilst plotting to get a pony car (I think I have a lot in common with Mara), but boy, is your car beautiful ....


4,339 posts

237 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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In answer to your question flemke, I want an F1 more than ever now.

Rob P

5,706 posts

222 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Another great post.

Thats two days in a row where I have speant the first hour of work sat reading PH